Howard had 34 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots in what looked like a one-man show most of the night, and the Magic beat the Charlotte Bobcats 105-92 Friday.
It was the second straight game of 30-plus points for Howard, who dominated the four Bobcats who took turns guarding him. Howard hit 11 of 14 shots against Emeka Okafor, Primoz Brezec, Ryan Hollins and Othella Harrington, whose only real success at stopping him was sending him to the free throw line, where he was just 12-of-21.
"Dwight had a tremendous, tremendous night and I'm thankful for that because our other guys didn't play well enough for us to win," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We get up 20 and think the game is over. That happens to us every night and I'm not happy with it."
"That kid is absolutely amazing," guard Keith Bogans said of Howard. "He's going to score, rebound and block shots every night, but we've got to be a little sharper around him. We had wide-open looks all night -- too wide-open sometimes -- and we've got to start knocking those down. Tonight just wasn't that night."
The Bobcats also shot poorly, hitting only 41.1 percent, going 5-of-21 from behind the arc.
"We got good shots, we just didn't make them," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said of his starters. "Our guys off the bench were a little more patient. They moved the ball from side to side and did a great job."
The Magic led by as many as 22 in the second half, but had to reinsert Howard and Nelson late in the fourth quarter to put away the game. Charlotte had scored nine straight points to cut a 21-point deficit to 99-87 with just over 2 minutes to play.
Howard's dunk with 1:27 left pushed the Magic lead to 101-88 and ended the threat.
Turkoglu's three-point play capped a 12-0 run by the Magic at the end of the first quarter and start of the second and gave Orlando a 30-16 advantage. Howard finished the half with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but Orlando's lead was just 55-44 at halftime.
Charlotte went cold in the third period, hitting only one of its first 11 shots as Howard and the Magic upped their lead to 68-46. However, Charlotte resorted to fouling Howard, who shot 16 free throws in the quarter. He hit 10, but missed five straight in the last 2 minutes and the Bobcats cut the lead to 80-66 going into the fourth quarter.
Bobcats F Gerald Wallace left the game at the end of the first quarter with a calf strain. His run of four straight games with 25 or more points ended. He scored four points in 12 minutes. ... Brian Cook, obtained from the Lakers in a trade Tuesday, made his debut with the Magic. He had three points in eight minutes. ... Charlotte PG Raymond Felton had three straight double-doubles coming into the game. Felton averaged 21.3 points and 11.3 assists in that stretch. ... The Magic are 7-0 when allowing less than 100 points.
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